Updated 23 May, 2013, 8:16 pm IST
Tablets and smartphones have changed the way we compute. It’s an age where the touchscreen rules and the keyboard is on its way to being obsolete… well maybe. But the Indian tablet scene is flush with new arrivals and it’s not easy keeping track of what’s new. We’ve put together a whole new comparison, taking into account all the budget tablets that are currently available in India.
The following information will help clue you in on what’s out there and what your best options are. The models we’ve selected are budgeted to under Rs 10,000 and are all equipped with 7-inch displays. This is the space where brands like iBerry and Zync, and some Indian cellphone and PC manufacturers such as Micromax and HCL are positioned quite well. Although most of the newly launched 7-inch tablets are rebranded Chinese models, that doesn’t mean they aren’t up to the mark. In fact, most manufacturers have tried to ensure that the overall build quality is good and the performance isn’t compromised. Even the feature set on some of these devices is quite impressive – 1 GHz single-core processor, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of storage, capacitive touch screen, Wi-Fi, camera and USB host support are common features. Some even offer HDMI video output.
Some go as far as to bundle a pair of earphones, carrying pouch and USB host dongle, while some bundled only one component or nothing. We took all these points into consideration along with the performance scores and subjective analysis of ergonomics and arrived at the best performer and the one that offers the best value. Take a look and see which devices made the cut.
Micromax Funbook offers almost everything that a tablet should. It has quite a solid build to it. It’s available in two colors – Slate Grey and Midnight Black. When held horizontally with the VGA camera on top, you have physical buttons for Menu, Home and Back to your right. Although, the stock UI of ICS has these controls as soft buttons to the bottom left of the screen, the physical buttons are more convenient especially when you’re using an app or playing a game. Lined up on the right side are microSD slot, mini HDMI port, mini USB port and charging jack. It also supports a USB Host function wherein using the bundled dongle you can use a USB keyboard or mouse or a 3G USB dongle for instant Internet access. The Funbook draws power from a 2800 mAh battery pack, which is just slightly weaker than what its rivals use.
Best Performer overall
The core of the Funbook comprises of a 1.2 GHz ARM v7 processor, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage, of which a few hundred megabytes are taken up by the Android 4.0.3 OS (Ice Cream Sandwich). You get around 1 GB for installing applications and 1.83 GB for storing other data such as videos, songs, photos and documents. Micromax has opted to go in with the stock ICS user interface which is quite zippy. The bundled apps include Documents to Go (trial), Super-HD Play media player and Vuclip with which you can view Bollywood movie clips from the Micromax Movie Portal. The true potential of the tablet is seen when you load it with games and applications from the Google Play store. The quality of the display is very good and the gaming performance is excellent courtesy Mali 400 MP graphics processor. However, it heats up slightly when used continuously for a long time.
Priced a little over ₹6,000, the Funbook is one of the most affordable Android tablets. The only big drawback is that this tablet doesn’t come with a bundled carrying case but that’s easy to get over considering the build looks sturdy enough.
And the Best Value goes to the TabPlus Ginger – ₹5,999
Most of the tablets in our list have almost equal performance, but when it comes to ergonomics, the actual usability (true performance) comes into the picture. Here is where the TabPlus Ginger takes the title of the Best Value. It runs off a single core 1 GHz ARM v7 processor supported by the Mali 400 MP GPU and 512 MB of RAM. It also features 2.71 GB of user storage.
The capacitive 7-inch LCD screen has a resolution of 640 x 480. Connectivity options to use the Internet are via the built-in Wi-Fi b/g interface or through a 3G dongle by using a USB OTG cable. The Ginger also sports a mini HDMI port to enjoy your movies and photos on a large screen. You can also connect a mouse or keyboard and operate the tablet.
Best value tablet
The TabPlus Ginger has a tough shell thanks to the all-metal exterior, which also keeps the tablet cooler and limits damage. The area it loses out in is the size and quality of the buttons—they are a bit too tiny to use comfortably. Other than this issue, everything else seems to be quite good. The performance is also pretty good and compared to the top performer, the Micromax Funbook, it lags behind by just a few points.
It also loses a few points due to the capacitive touch buttons as they can be accidentally activated when handling the gadget, unlike a physical button where you need to apply a bit of pressure. The performance scores also show that the Ginger can function quite well. It’s a good option for viewing videos and gaming thanks to its quality display and decent GPU performance. The viewing angle is good, but creates a negative display when viewed from the top. The tablet is also a great alternative for internet surfing, emails, chat and video calling. Sadly, it does not include a GPS module.
Here’s a quick look at the rest of the devices that featured on our list. You’ll get to see the specifications as well as prices and our score of the products.
Scores out of 5 and Prices are indicative and are subject to change, taxes extra
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